HOBART — Bedbugs discovered at Hobart Fire Station No. 3 have caused the department to temporarily close the facility as it addresses the issue.
Fire Chief Randy Smith said he became aware of the situation Monday, and Monroe Pest Control has been hired to exterminate the bugs and disinfect the station at 710 Colonial Drive.
The department also has sanitized equipment used by fire personnel.
Smith said four firefighters were bitten by bedbugs. They were examined and have no medical issues.
The Fire Department contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after becoming aware of the issue. According to the CDC website, bedbugs aren’t known to spread disease, but they can be an annoyance by possibly causing itching and loss of sleep.
Other Hobart fire stations have been inspected, and the bedbug problem is isolated to Station No. 3, Smith said. It hasn’t been determined how long Station No. 3 will be closed, but Smith hopes to have the facility in operation again as soon as possible.
Smith said the health of the public and the city’s firefighters is paramount. The department is taking every precaution to ensure there is no risk of spreading bedbugs to other locations, he said. That includes the disinfection and extermination process occurring at Station No. 3.
Smith said it’s possible the bedbug issue originated after firefighters responded to a location that had a presence of the insects.
He said an ambulance in October transported a person from a location that had bedbugs. The ambulance was disinfected before it returned to service.